Intersectional Environmentalism: What we can learn from LGBTQ+ solidarity
February was LGBT+ history month, and colleagues from the People’s Plan came together to discuss what we could learn about LGBT+ history, how LGBT+ issues intersect with the climate crisis, and how as an organisation, we can be better allies. Patrick, from the external engagement team, comments on what we can learn from LGBTQ+ solidarity.
The People’s Plan seeks to empower all people to have their say on a green recovery from COVID-19. Intersectional environmentalists argue that tackling the climate crisis should also mean tackling injustices and it is often those who are disadvantaged who are most vulnerable to the climate crisis. We should draw inspiration from activists, past and present, including LGBTQ+ groups standing in solidarity with marginalised groups, illustrating that we are stronger together.
If you haven’t already, I recommend watching the 2014 film Pride. It tells the story of Lesbians and Gays Support The Miners. LGSM was established in 1984 to support striking miners and the communities that relied upon them in South Wales. This alliance with the miners helped bring both the trade union movement and the Labour Party behind the cause of lesbian and gay equality in 1984/85.
LGSM continues to inspire LGBTQ+ solidarity campaigns today, such as Lesbians and Gays Support The Migrants. This group draws parallels between the struggles that LGBTQ+ people have faced and how migrants are demonised by media outlets, criminalised by the government and face violence from the far-right.
LGSMigrants challenges the way that LGBTQ+ rights have sometimes been weaponized as ‘British’ or ‘Western’ values to cast migrants or people of faith as a threat. The association between Britishness and the championing of LGBTQ+ rights is, of course, a new phenomenon. For instance, in the 20th century, Britain exported homophobic laws across the Empire. It is this legacy that forms the basis of anti-LGBTQ+ attitudes and discrimination in some of these ex-colonies. Meanwhile, LGBTQ+ inequality in Britain persists with 24% of homeless young people identifying as LGBTQ+. In England and Wales, reported homophobic hate crimes increased by 19% in 2019/2020 compared to the previous year, while transphobic hate crimes rose 16%.
LGSMigrants are currently campaigning against the inhumane conditions that asylum seekers in the UK are being kept in. Due to a lack of social distancing and healthcare, there was a COVID-19 outbreak in Napier Barracks and the conditions are creating a mental health crisis. You can learn more and find ways to help their campaign here.